Sounders FC kicked off the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals with a 1-0 loss to Tigres UANL in the first leg at Estadio Universitario on Wednesday night. The two-game, aggregate goal series will conclude in Seattle on Tuesday night. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.
After 74 minutes of scoreless play, second-half substitute Alan Pulido scored the game’s lone goal for the home side. Michael Gspurning saved the initial header off a Tigres cross, but Pulido headed the rebound into the back of the net to break the scoreless tie.
The loss marks the first for Sounders FC in the 2012-13 CCL after going undefeated (4-0-0) in the Group Stage.
Despite an 18-3 shot advantage for Tigres, the Rave Green kept within one goal of the Liga MX Clausura leaders heading into the second leg thanks to some big defensive plays. In the third minute, Leo Gonzalez cleared a close, open shot off the line and in the 66th minute, Alex Caskey blocked a header on frame with his head.
Gspurning finished with four saves, including a 13th minute stop on a Luis Garcia shot after the striker made a nice turn in the box.
Seattle managed some chances in the second half, but were unable to convert. In the 57th minute, Eddie Johnson got by a Tigres defender on a run into the box, but his shot was saved. In the 82nd minute, Mario Martinez kept possession all the way down to the end line and sent a low cross to the near post, but Lamar Neagle’s flick was saved.
Djimi Traore started at center back, making his Sounders FC debut. The 33-year-old former Liverpool player was signed on February 23. Osvaldo Alonso and Lamar Neagle both made their 2013 debuts.
The quarterfinal series will conclude Tuesday night with Sounders FC needing a two-goal advantage to advance. The team that moves on will face the winner of the Santos Laguna-Houston Dynamo matchup. The Dynamo hold a 1-0 lead after the first leg in Houston.